The key to becoming successful poker player is to develop a good morning routine. The purpose of this is to set you up for a successful poker day – both mentally and physically.
“The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” – John C. Maxwell
A mediocre poker player’s morning is filled with chaos, procrastination, wasted time on social media and Internet, and preparation is done in the last minute. The antidote to this is “THE GOLDEN HOUR”.
The most powerful success factor of personal development and lifelong poker success has to do with “the golden hour” of your day.
“As an individual, you become what you think about, most of the time. You become the sum total result of the ideas, information and impressions you feed into your mind, from the time you get up in the morning until you go to bed at night. Everything counts, but some impressions count more than others. The thoughts with which you flood your mind in the first hour of the morning, the golden hour, have a strong influence on how you think, feel and act for the rest of the day.” – Brian Tracy
In my opinion the best habit you can develop is to take advantage of the golden hour. It will set up your poker day for success. Here is a challenge for you, if you accept it: Starting tomorrow, arise each morning at least one hour before you have to be somewhere, and invest the first golden hour in yourself, and in your mind. In this article I created a list of the best morning routine ideas.
Personally, on the days where I do those things, my entire day is transformed. I am more mindful, focused, and productive. Treating this first hour as ”golden” also helps me to remember that every hour can be “golden”, not just the first hour of the day. Hence, the momentum of that first hour ripples throughout my day.
And so, whether I end the poker day with a profit or not, my attitude is always positive.
Golden hour habits and ideas
Figure out what works for you and what best prepares you (mentally) for the poker day.
Cutting out the distractions (no TV, email, phone, social media, etc.)
Make sure you avoid these distractions in the first hour. If you wake up and immediately check your phone you will be bombarded with notifications, emails, messages and other stimuli that often can create a feeling of stress and anxiety, giving you no time and space to start your day calmly.
By checking messages, social media or emails your thoughts, ideas and focus will immediately be taken over by other people’s opinions, requests and advertising. In other words, your mind will be occupied with other people’s agenda, not your own. Instead of starting your day proactively focusing on your goals, you will be forced to react to other people’s stuff.
Another reason why you should avoid checking your phone is that your time will be hijacked. You start with checking social media for 5 minutes, this quickly turns into 15 minutes, then 30 minutes… and you will end up starting your day stressed and hurried.
And finally the most important reason: By starting the day distracted, you prime your brain for distraction for the rest of the day. Don’t assume that you can go smoothly from distraction to the intense focus required for poker. Understand that your ability to focus will be heavily affected if you start your day glued to your phone. And this can be disastrous for your poker day.
Before you jump out of your bed, think of at least 3 things you are grateful of. This will help you attract positivity and sets the tone of your day. As Marcus Aurelius says, “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
Exercise or just going for a walk
You don’t need to go to the gym to do this. After you wake up go for a quick morning run/walk or do some exercises at home. Even 15 minutes is enough and it will help you energize your body. Thanks to the release of endorphins and serotonin your mood will be boosted and you will be ready for the day.
Reviewing your action plan for the day or plan your day.
This one is crucial. Plan your day in advance. Make a list of everything you have to do and organize this list by priority and importance.
I usually write a “TO BE” list as well, where I add things like: calm, confident, focused, fearless, willing to fail, motivated, disciplined, fearless, etc.
Practicing mindfulness meditation in my opinion is one of the most underrated things you can do to sharpen your focus. It is extremely simple: Sit quietly for five to ten minutes just noticing your breath and focus on your body and when your attention wanders, return it. It’s even easier if you choose a guided meditation from Youtube.
The proven benefits of mindfulness meditation are: increased self-awareness, strengthened concentration, higher function of the brain, reduced anxiety and stress, better sleep, enhanced cognitive thinking and improved tilt-control.
Many of the greatest poker players incorporate breath work, mindfulness and exercise in their daily routines. Playing well requires awareness, focus and detachment from outcomes.
When you focus on your breath during mindfulness meditation, you are training your mind to be aware, steady and consistent, so that you can begin to display these qualities when facing tough poker decisions.
This is my favorite one and it’s the one habit that all high-performers share. The benefits are amazing, you will start your day inspired and motivated. Usually when I read a business or self-improvement book in the morning I feel ready to crush the day and to perform at a high level during my poker sessions.
Therefore, I recommend reading for 15-30 minutes every single morning. I guarantee that it will improve your poker mindset and your life as well.
The time and energy you invest in reading can pay you back a hundred or a thousand times. – Steve Burns
If you don’t know what to read, click here to find out the 5 life-changing books that will improve your poker mindset.
Some kind of way of reflecting (journaling for example)
Write down for 3-5 minutes anything that comes into your mind, this could be your feelings, your worries, goals, ideas, things that you are grateful for. There is no wrong way to do this, no rules.
The benefits of journaling in the morning: clears your mind, you become more creative, helps silence your biggest enemy, your inner critic and reduces anxiety.
Consistently journaling your poker days can be a gamechanger. Never stop learning, evolving and reflecting.
Eat a healthy breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is why you should eat something healthy and good in the morning. It will provide your body and brain with the fuel it needs to get your day going.
Take a cold shower
I’ve been taking cold showers for the last 3 months and I will continue doing it, because the benefits are amazing:
- Reduced stress levels.
- Higher level of alertness.
- Strengthened immune system
- Increased willpower.
- Better metabolism
- Faster muscle recovery
- More energy (wakes you up)
Begin immediately to work on your most valuable and important task
This can be something like watching a poker training video, reviewing your hands or reading strategy articles. When you work on one of your major tasks in the morning, you will experience a surge of energy, motivation and confidence that will increase your overall productivity for the rest of your day.
Remember one thing: If you win the morning, you win the day.
Note: Do you need a quick poker mindset boost? Click here to get my free eBook called 25 Poker Mindset Tips Every Player Should Know.